WWII Weekend in Williamsport offers reenactments, period fashion shows
WILLIAMSPORT — They are called the Greatest Generation for not only surviving the Depression and World War II but showing what a country can do when it comes together for a cause.
And on Saturday, Oct. 14, and Sunday, Oct. 15, the Springfield Barn in Williamsport and the area around it will be transported back in time to the 1940s for the annual Williamsport WWII Weekend. The event runs both days from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Will Snyder has been portraying soldiers with the WWII Army Air Corps as part of the Allied Airmen’s Preservation Society Mid Atlantic District, which is hosting the WWII event.
Snyder said the event opens to reenactors Friday night, allowing them to set up their camps. That night they’re treated to a meal of a Spam sandwich, baked beans, a Coke and a cookie. They’ll also be shown the movie, “Hacksaw Ridge.”
The official open is at 9 a.m. Saturday.
“Everyone’s camp is open and you’re welcome to walk into the camps,” Snyder said. “Everyone has a story to tell.”
Synder, who served in real life with the U.S. Navy, will portray a line chief with the U.S. Air Corp. It would be his job to make sure the planes were up and running. Their tent will be set up just as it would’ve been in the 1940s, including a board of what the work is for him and his staff that day.
“You’ll see things you won’t see in the history books,” he said. “One of the gentlemen is my newest pilot, the first job of the day is clean puke out of the cockpit. He got sick his first time in combat. And that’s historically accurate. It’s all fun and games until somebody starts shooting back at you.”
Throughout the day there will be military and civilian living history demonstrations including encampments, a Victory Garden, 1940s children’s games, vehicles of the 1930s, plus period vendors.
“We’re not only representing the war, we’re representing life in the ‘40s,” he said. “We just came out of the Great Depression, times were a little bit different and attitudes were a little bit different. I tell ya, they don’t call that the Greatest Generation for nothing.”
At 10 a.m. there will be a recognition ceremony for WWII veterans. Snyder said Western Sizzlin’ Steakhouse will give each WWII veteran a free meal.
At 2 p.m there will be a 1940s fashion show featuring period clothing, followed by a period radio broadcast by the Potomac Playmakers accompanied by the Williamsport Community Jazz Band.
The entire weekend’s events are free, except for the dance. Dance lessons will start at 6 p.m., followed by the dance at 7 p.m. Saturday at the barn. Jump Alley will perform for the dance. The dance costs $10 or $15 per couple.
“You really step back in time, when you walk into that barn, you’ve entered 1940,” Snyder said.
Sunday, the event continues with a church service at 10 a.m. at Springfield Barn, which will also include displays and demonstrations. The event concludes at 3 p.m. Sunday with the Williamsport Community Band performing a Salute to Veterans.
For Snyder, the WWII Weekend is about teaching younger generations. That’s why he makes a point to tell the little ones that during that event, they’re making personal history when they take time to talk to a WWII veteran.
He said he tells them, “you need to understand you’re the last generation to be able to say, I talked to a World War II vet.”
Snyder said the Greatest Generation still can teach future generations “to have a core value and stay the course.”